Jacksonville Daily Progress
About this time last year Kailla Parker, thinking that her competitive tennis playing days were over as she prepared to graduate from Groesbeck High School, was wondering what her life would be like without tennis, the game that she dearly loves.
She then received a phone call that would change her life, and after a year of hard work as a member of the Jacksonville College tennis team, Parker, and her doubles partner, Troup's Caitlin Renson, have earned a division title at the NJCAA Women's Tennis National Championship, which was played this week at the Jim Reffkin Tennis Center in Tucson.
Parker & Renson, both freshmen, progressed through the consolation bracket undefeated after losing their opening match of the tournament on Sunday.
They were officially declared Flight 3 consolation doubles champions Thursday morning when their opponents from Seminole (Okla.) State College were forced to withdraw from the finals match in order to catch their airline flight back home.
“We were very excited about winning, even though we wish things could have been decided on the court,” Parker said in a telephone interview. “For us to get that far and earn points for our team meant a lot to us.
“A lot of people didn't really give us a chance because we are a new team.”
Parker & Renson started their run on Monday when their won their first back draw match, 8-3, over Alexia Alleyne and Laurica Nelson from Georgia Perimeter College.
On Tuesday the JC duo beat Carly Staurt and Madison Walker out of Jones County, Miss. Community College, 8-1.
That set the stage for a consolation semi-final match, which Parker & Renson strolled to an 8-3 win on Wednesday — the JC ladies stopped Emile Keith and Ty-Chelle Williams from Harford (Md.) Community College in that match.
“I thought my tennis playing days would end with high school, then I got a phone call last spring from (former JC tennis coach) coach (Kenneth) Michaud offering me an opportunity to join the team at Jacksonville College,” Parker said. “It really feels good to be able to keep playing and to be able to represent Jacksonville College in such a positive way.”
After nearly a week in southern Arizona, Parker said that the experience is one that she will always remember.
“It's different than playing in Texas because the heat is a dry heat and you don't sweat as much,” she said. “Playing with all the mountains in the background is really neat and to get to play against and meet players from all over the country has been a special experience.”
JC tennis is coached by Mark Robbins.